Coping With COVID-19

When Kentucky schools shut down due to coronavirus in the spring of 2020, we pivoted our school-level school climate work to design a relevant state-wide research study. The goal was to gauge the impact of the crisis on students learning from home. We wanted to ensure education leaders navigating through the pandemic would better understand what Kentucky students were experiencing to inform their decision-making.


We enlisted adult research partners from the University of Kentucky and McRel International to conceive the Coping with COVID Student-to-Student Survey. After receiving nearly 13,000 student responses from all 120 of Kentucky’s counties, our team created an executive summary and regional reports for Kentucky’s nine educational co-ops and began amplifying and elevating the student voice we collected. We shared the research findings with a range of local and national education audiences from the Kentucky Board of Education and the Interim Joint Education Committee to the Policy Innovators in Education Network and the Aspen Institute.

As our team launches the second phase of our study involving 50 peer-to-peer qualitative interviews, we aim to ensure Kentucky students’ lived experiences drive decisions about our education. Our project shows what is possible when young people are enlisted as solutions-oriented education research partners. 


This project is strengthened by funding support from Project AWARE, Teach for America, National Geographic, The Woodrow Wilson Institute, and Pathway 2 Tomorrow.